Prevalence and severity of micronutrient deficiency: a cross-sectional study among adolescents in Sri Lanka.Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2006; 15(1):56-63AP
In order to determine the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies (iron, zinc and folate) in Sri Lankan adolescent school children and the extent to which multiple micronutrient deficiencies exist in this population, a cross-sectional survey (2003) in the Galle district of the micronutrient and anthropometric status of 945 school children of ages 12-16 years was performed. The prevalence of anemia (Hb < 120.0 g/L) was 49.5% in males and 58.1% in females (overall 54.8%, gender difference, P = 0.004). In anemic children 30.2% of males and 47.8% of females were iron deficient (serum ferritin < 30.0 microg/L). Folate deficiency (<6.80 nmol/L) was found in 54.6% and 52.5% of boys and girls respectively whereas zinc deficiency (<9.95 micromol/L) occurred in 51.5% and 58.3%. Anemic boys had a 1.5 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.9-2.6) and 1.6-fold (CI; 1.1-2.6) greater risk of being stunted and underweight, whereas the risk among anemic girls was 1.7 (CI; 1.1-2.7) and 1.0 (CI; 0.7-1.5) for being stunted and underweight. The relative risks of having at least two deficiencies in iron, zinc and folate among anemic children were 1.6 (CI; 0.6-4.2) among boys and 0.8 (CI; 0.5-1.5) among girls. Iron deficient subjects had a significantly increased risk of 1.8 (CI, 1.1-3.0) of being deficient in folate and 1.7 (CI, 1.2-2.6) of being deficient in zinc. Zinc deficient subjects had a risk of 1.3 (CI, 1.0-1.8) being iron deficient and 1.2 (CI, 0.9-1.7) of being folate deficient. Multiple micronutrient deficiencies are prevalent in Sri Lankan adolescents.